Chef gets Bronze Star for convoy rescue
Chief Warrant Officer 3 David J. Longstaff, manager of the U.S. Army culinary team, has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal with
Valor for rescuing five Soldiers pinned down in an ambush.
Longstaff was serving as Division Support Command food service technician for the 1st Armored Division, when he went on a
procurement mission in the Al Rasheed district of Baghdad on Aug. 7, 2003.
It was early afternoon with temperatures reaching 113 degrees fahrenheit. During his first five months in Iraq, Longstaff had
participated in more than 150 convoys into Baghdad. This particular mission had proceeded as normal, but while driving through a
shopping district along the route back to camp, he spotted a burning Humvee in the center medium.
“The Humvee was hit by an RPG and an ambush was in progress,” said Longstaff. “We just happened to be coming down the road,
so we got in there and supported them.”
Longstaff’s convoy included two Humvees and a 5-ton truck. Longstaff ordered two vehicles to secure the rear as the other vehicle,
driven by Sgt. 1st Class Richard Bryant, 1st Armored Division, proceeded to assist the five ambushed Soldiers trapped behind a
Longstaff provided covering fire toward a building where most of the incoming rounds were shot from. With hostile fire coming from
buildings on the north and south sides of the street, he continued engaging the enemy with suppressive fire for 10 minutes, and
helped evacuate the casualties away from the area.
“I stayed behind our Humvee, walking as we maneuvered across the street,” said Longstaff. “Once we laid down suppressive fire,
they were able to run across the two sections of the street and get back into their area.”
Longstaff also engaged enemy fire from the rear flank with 2nd Lt. Juan Florez, assistant DISCOM S-4..
Longstaff’s quick reaction to the situation allowed the ambushed Soldiers to move out of the kill zone without further injury,
according to Bryant. Longstaff volunteered as rear security on the convoy out of the area and the injured Soldiers were evacuated
for medical treatment. Longstaff’s team had no injuries.
“His actions are nothing short of heroic and are a true testament of his technical and tactical expertise,” said Bryant.
“I was intrigued that as a cook, I found myself in the middle of Baghdad taking fire,” said Longstaff. “It just goes to show what you
can do when put into any situation. So you should just be prepared.”
“Regardless of where you compete in the world of chefs,” Longstaff said, “we are warriors first, and that’s important.”
|Chief Warrant Officer 3 David J. Longstaff, manager of the U.S. Army culinary team, has been
awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Valor for rescuing five Soldiers pinned down in an ambush.